Ex-Rep. Quillen, aka ‘Mr. Republican,’ Dies

Posted November 3, 2003 at 3:17pm

Former Rep. James Nelson Quillen (R-Tenn.), 87, died of heart failure at a hospital in Kingsport, Tenn., on Nov. 2. He served in Congress for 34 years and holds the record for the longest continuous service by any Tennessee Member in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A Wayland, Va., native, Quillen was the fifth oldest of 10 children of a sharecropper. He became the youngest newspaper publisher at the time when he was 20 years old with the creation of a weekly paper, The Kingsport Mirror.

He later joined the Navy and served aboard the USS Antietam until he was discharged in 1946 as a lieutenant.

Later known as “Mr. Republican” in Congress, Quillen first ran for public office in 1954 with encouragement from his wife. As a civilian, he built and sold houses and sold insurance. He served eight years in the Tennessee Legislature before running for the U.S. House in 1962.

During his tenure in Congress, Quillen served as a member of the House Rules Committee and was vice chairman of the Rules subcommittee on legislative and budget process.

He sponsored and saw passage of legislation to establish a federal law against the desecration of the American flag. The Supreme Court later ruled it unconstitutional.

Quillen’s wife, Cecile, also died of heart failure, in January 2002. He is survived by two sisters, Faye and Vesta, as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Gifts can be made to the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, the James H. Quillen Regional Heart Center, the James H. and Cecile C. Quillen Center for Rehabilitation, or the Cecile Cox Quillen Chair of Excellence in Geriatrics and Gerontology.

Ex-Rep. McCloskey Dies of Cancer

Former Rep. Frank McCloskey (D-Ind.) died Nov. 2 at age 64 after a year-long battle with bladder cancer. He died at his home in Bloomington, Ind., with family and friends after his release from a Bloomington hospital.

The Philadelphia native represented Indiana’s 8th district from 1983 to 1995, during which he became interested in the Balkans.

“Frank always wanted to do good,” Dan Combs, chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party, told The Associated Press. “I honestly wouldn’t say he was a good politician. He wasn’t tricky, slick or deceitful. He fought for things he thought were right. If something sounded good, that’s what he did.”

As a Member of Congress, McCloskey visited Bosnia several times, called for selective air strikes against the Serbs in 1992, criticized the Clinton administration on how it handled the Bosnian conflict, and called for war crime trials for Serb leaders.

In 2002, McCloskey was named director of Kosovo programs for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He had been on the job for only a few weeks before falling ill.

McCloskey immediately joined the Air Force after his high school graduation and served until 1961. He enrolled in Indiana University at Bloomington and graduated in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree. McCloskey was elected mayor of Bloomington in 1972, a year after he graduated from law school, and served for 10 years before running for Congress in 1982.

McCloskey is survived by his wife, Roberta, and their two children. Funeral arrangements are pending.

— Carolyn Shuckerow